UPDATE: UK student charged in U.S. Capitol riot out on bond


WASHINGTON D.C. (WTVQ) – A former University of Kentucky student faces from zero to six months in prison after pleading guilty Monday to entering and remaining in a restricted grounds for her participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 incident at the U.S. Capitol.

Gracyn Dawn Courtright will be sentenced at 10 a.m., Nov. 16, 2021, according to federal court records. She also must pay $500 as part of her share of the restitution for the $1.495 million in damages caused to the Capitol. She also could be fined up to $9,500, according to the sentencing guidelines outlined in the court documents (courtright plea statement and courtright plea1).

She remains out of jail on personal recognizance.


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A former University of Kentucky senior caught on security footage lugging a congressional “members only” sign around the US Capitol pleaded guilty on Monday to a federal misdemeanor for her part in the January 6 riot.

Twenty-three-year-old Gracyn Courtright pleaded guilty to illegally entering and remaining in a restricted building or ground on January 6.
As part of the deal, Courtright agreed to pay $500 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol during the riot. Prosecutors have cut similar deals with other defendants who were not violent or destructive inside the building.
Courtright is one of several rioters CNN has previously reported did not vote in the 2020 presidential election.
Prosecutors say she told an associate that “idk what treason is,” and posted a mirror selfie on Instagram captioned, “Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO.”
Courtright could face up to six months in prison, though it is likely she will be ordered to serve much less, or even no jail time, when she is sentenced in November.
District Judge Christopher Cooper scheduled Courtright to be sentenced at an in-person hearing in DC but said that plan might change since Courtright and her family have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The plea comes as prosecutors have increased the pressure on Capitol riot defendants who bragged about their participation after the fact. Though defendants aren’t required to apologize, federal prosecutors have cited defiant comments from some to argue in court that they should face harsher punishments.
As she prepared to enter her guilty plea during the virtual proceeding on Monday, Courtright started crying.
“I’m just — I’m just shaking. I’m sorry,” she told the judge.
Courtright said that shortly after January 6, she withdrew from the University of Kentucky, where she studied mathematical economics. In December, Courtright will face a board at the school that will decide if she can return to class.
The Justice Department has charged more than 590 people in the massive Capitol riot investigation. So far, 46 have pleaded guilty.


WASHINGTON D.C. (WTVQ) – A West Virginia woman who was a student at the University of Kentucky when she was accused of taking part in the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion on the U.S. Capitol had her plea hearing rescheduled Tuesday.

Gracyn Dawn Courtright had been scheduled to plead guilty at 10 a.m. Monday, but a federal court notice posted on the U.S. District Court web site moved the hearing to 10 a.m. Aug. 25, 2021. Judge Christopher Cooper is overseeing the case.

No reason was given for the change.

Courtright will remain free on her own recognizance.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A plea agreement hearing is set next month for a West Virginia woman accused of taking a “Members Only” sign near the Senate chambers as she accompanied supporters of former President Donald Trump in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The hearing for Gracyn Dawn Courtright of Hurricane, W.Va., is scheduled for July 20 in federal court in Washington, D.C., according to court documents. The notice of the hearing was made last week. Courtright remains free on personal recognizance bond.

Courtright is charged with theft of government property under $1,000 and four counts involving her conduct in a Capitol and restricted building.

Eight people have pleaded guilty in federal court to riot-related offenses. Courtright is one of at least four others who apparently have agreed to plead guilty, according to court records.

Courtright admitted she went in, prompting the witness to express embarrassment, according to the FBI.

Courtright allegedly said, “I’m not embarrassed so you shouldn’t be,” bragged that the event was making “history” and said she thought “it was cool.”

When the witness accused her of treason, Courtright said she did not know what treason was, according to the affidavit. Before Courtright deleted her Instagram account, she wrote, “Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO.”

According to the affidavit, in two Instagram photos in which she is raising her arms in the air, Courtright wrote, “can’t wait to tell my grandkids I was here!”

The affidavit said photos of a woman seen at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were similar to the physical features of Courtright’s driver’s license and her Instagram account. The FBI said she was wearing a black coat and a hat with a yellow band at the Capitol.

A woman whose clothes and physical features matched those of Courtright was seen on a video near the Senate chamber carrying a “Members Only” sign before a law enforcement officer confiscated it. A newspaper photo also appeared to place Courtright in a crowd that initially clashed with police in the halls of the Capitol, the FBI said.

The affidavit said Courtright at the time of her arrest was a senior at the University of Kentucky. According to the university, she was majoring in mathematical economics.

Update:  Jan. 19, 2021:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A University of Kentucky student charged in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was released on bond with travel restrictions following her first appearance on the charges in federal court on Tuesday, according to the Kentucky Kernel.

The report says Gracyn Courtright, a senior mathematical economics major from West Virginia, was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond with conditions.

Citing the conditional release order on file in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, the newspaper reports Courtright is restricted to the Southern District of West Virginia and the District of Columbia for her court appearances.

Her probation officer can approve travel outside of the restrictions to attend the University of Kentucky, according to the report.

She must also surrender her passport to a probation officer, try to find a job, can’t use alcohol, can’t have a gun and may be required to attend a counseling program, according to the report.

Courtright was appointed a public defender, according to the Kentucky Kernel.

Surveillance camera video shows Courtright carrying a “Members Only” sign from the floor of the U.S. Senate, according to federal prosecutors.

She was charged with theft of property under $1,000, knowingly entering a restricted building, knowingly engaging in disruptive conduct, and violent entry on Capitol grounds, according to federal court records filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Original story below from Jan. 17, 2021:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A University of Kentucky student from West Virginia faces federal charges for her role and participation in the Jan. 6 incidents at the U.S. Capitol (read the charges, caution some of the paperwork contains foul language courtright affidavit  courtright charges).

Gracyn Dawn Courtright is charged with theft of property under $1,000, knowingly entering a restricted building, knowingly engaging in disruptive conduct, and violent entry on Capitol grounds, according to federal court records filed Saturday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Affidavits filed by an FBI agent cite Courtright’s own social media posts, pictures and videos in making the case for the allegations against her.

She deleted her social media — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — shortly after the incidents.

Courtright’s father also confirmed some of the details in a conversation with FBI agents who spoke with him at his home in West Virginia where his daughter was staying, according to the affidavits.

In her posts, Courtright said she never saw any violence and didn’t take part in any herself. She is shown at one point carrying a “Members Only” sign from the floor of the U.S. Senate.

In an exchange with a friend on social media, she said she didn’t know what treason was.

The University of Kentucky would not comment directly on her case but did say the school’s disciplinary rules may apply.

“We don’t discuss individual disciplinary issues. But, in general, we can tell you that the student code of conduct applies both on and off campus. If the university is made aware of a student taking actions in violations of local, state or federal laws, the student code of conduct applies in that context,” the university said in a statement.
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